Ungodly Counsel as Catnip to Cheaters

2014-07-25 14.09.51

“Can’t you see?! You’ve divorced her in your heart.”

-“Christian” Lay Counselor

Such a statement is highly irresponsible. It is like waving catnip in front of a cheater. They are likely to take this statement and go forth to act as if they are truly not married (even though they are). A “Christian” leader trying to “help” couples is partnering with the Father of Lies when he or she says such a thing to a troubled couple.

How so?

The Christian leader has just declared the marriage dead. This is a ready-made “excuse”–rather lie–for a cheater to latch onto when violating their marriage vows in cheating either emotionally, physically, or both. He already divorced me in heart after all. So, this can’t be wrong.

Plus, this is clearly dumb and unchristian counsel. We are not divorced simply based on how we feel one day or another. That is not how a true Christian marriage or civil society works. One does not enjoy the legal benefits of marriage until one is legally married. Being married “in the heart” does not cut it. Same thing goes for being “divorced in the heart.” You cannot remarry because you “divorced in the heart” but never actually filed the paperwork. Trying to do that is called bigamy and is a crime!

Sex outside of marriage is called fornication. It is a sin (see Hebrews 13:4). Being “married in the heart” only and having sex still means one is sinning by fornicating. That is what traditional Christianity teaches. You have to actually get married to be married!

Making a marriage official civilly or in one’s respective community matters to God clearly. Such is the difference between sinning or glorifying God sexually in a relationship. The same idea applies to talking divorce. It matters whether or not the divorce is official. One is bound by the vows until one is officially released from said vows. Being married or divorced is not a subjective matter.

This “in the heart” nonsense is just a way the Father of Lies entices people into sin.

Another reason I consider such an observation as ungodly and unchristian is how it erodes godly commitment to the marriage. Why fight for such a marriage if it is truly dead as the word “divorced” suggests?! Why fight to be faithful to one’s spouse if such marriage vows are essentially declared void since one is ‘divorced’ already–even if only “in the heart?”

The statement that a couple is divorced in the heart does not flow from a Christian understanding of marriage.  Such words do not come from the covenant mindset God teaches His people marriage is (see Malachi 2 and Mark 10). It flows from the pagan mindset that marriage comes or goes based based on feelings and not commitments.

So, if you find yourself facing a pastor or other Christian leader making such an observation, I would suggest sharing your own observation…

Christian Leader: “Can’t you see?! You’ve divorced her in your heart.”

You: “Well, with that sort of a statement, I can see we did not come to someone actually offering Christian counsel. Buh-bye!”

2 thoughts on “Ungodly Counsel as Catnip to Cheaters”

  1. This is exactly what is going on in my marriage. Im estranged from my wife right now because she doesnt want me there. She blames me completely for her affair. I haven’t been the best husband or man that i can and she is using my failures to justify her affair. She wont go to counseling with me Christian or otherwise. She isn’t sorry for her affair yet and is very angry and vicious with me when I try and talk to her about it or my feelings. I have two children involved and they are hurting very bad. I am desperately praying to God for my marriage I love my wife and my children. Any and all advice and prayers would be appreciated.

    1. Brandon,

      My recommendation is to refuse to take responsibility for her choices and actions. It isn’t your fault–AT ALL–that she cheated. This is not about your performance or lack thereof as a husband. It is matter of her choosing to cheat, lie, and abandon her family.

      Don’t talk about your feelings with her at this point. Find an empathetic and nonjudgmental pastor, counselor, and/or male friend for that. Sharing your hurt feelings is just feeding into her power and ego in this matter. She needs to re-earn your trust before you share such sacred things as your feelings. Plus, you are telegraphing how she can hurt you more by sharing. Not wise to do this while she is completely remorseless regarding the affair.

      I am going to be a little blunt here: You don’t have a marriage until she stops cheating and repents! Three in the marriage bed is unacceptable to God and defies His marriage definition.

      She is giving you nothing. And she is being vicious as she likely knows what she is doing is very wrong but is unwilling to accept responsibility for her own sin and how it is harming those closest to her.

      As I write elsewhere, you really don’t have any good options here. It is a “Buffet of Bad Options.” However, I would encourage you to prepare for living without her permanently as her actions speak loudly that she is an unrepentant cheater.

      May God strengthen and comfort you!

      PS I recommend looking on my resources pages for books (and article) like Dr. David Clarke’s on such matters.

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